Robert Babicz: From dancefloor firestorms to ambience in the wind
Thu 27th Nov, 2008 Features 2828 viewsin
Robert Babicz has a long history in electronic music, one that stretches back to the early 90s and the list of labels he’s worked with reads like a who’s who of cutting edge European electronic music – Systematic, Kompakt, Audiomatique, BPitch Control and stacks more. His debut visit to Australia in June last year saw Babicz so enamored with Melbourne in particular that he wrote a track dedicated to the city, so it’ll come as no surprise that he’s heading back with his live show in tow.
As he told ITM, there’s many different sides to his musical personality, something that’s reflected in the many different pseudonyms he’s adopted over the years including Rob Acid, Dicabor, Sontec, Atlon Inc, Department of Dance, Acid Warrior and whole lot more. So what are the key differences? “Rob Acid was always like a firestorm going over the dancefloor, Robert Babicz is more of a soft magic taking control of your mind and your body. In the end it doesn’t matter any more, it’s all me. If I am hard as hell or ambient like a flower in the wind, it’s all me.”
ITM gets burnt from the firestorm and blown by the ambience of Robert Babicz.
Your last tour to Australia with Soma was an incredibly memorable live performance for a lot of people down here. What exactly about Melbourne inspired you to create A Night in Melbourne?
To be honest, the jetlag. I could not sleep and was really exited about the super nice crowd that was there. My thoughts were flying around like this dancing melody in that track, so I just made the music in the hotel room. Was my first hotel track ever. I think this time I will do even more tracks on this tour, because I now begin work on my next album on Systematic. But I am really looking forward to coming to Australia again, it was really great.
Germany is often hyped as the heart of everything cutting edge that is happening in techno right now, do you agree?
Oh wow, I really don’t know. There is so much music happening all over the world, even in Oz you have some really cool guys. I made some remixes for them. We have this German way of working on material, maybe that’s why people think that so much is happening here.
Do you find that as an artist you try to communicate more through individual tracks or through an album or release as a whole?
Am artist should communicate as a whole, the way he works, the way he speaks, all what he is doing is a big part of a puzzle. That gets filled slowly over the years.
A lot of people find it hard to translate techno outside of the club environment – do you vary your set much depending on whether it is indoor or outdoor, daytime or nighttime?
I always try to get in contact with the crowd, so I change my set from minute to minute on every gig. I need to get hold of the people in every situation, that’s my goal. I am there to give them a good time, at least I hope that.
Your skills as a remixer have become more than evident in the past year, with your take on tracks like Reformation, Spaceman and New World turning heads in techno circles worldwide – which do you find more challenging as an artist, reinterpreting a track or producing your own from scratch?
That’s a hard question and I still didn’t came to a final conclusion on that, cause it’s different each time, sometimes its soooo easy to make a remix, other times I delete so many versions until I am happy. It’s the same with my own tracks. I always want the remixes to be that good that I would buy them myself and play them.
You offer your services mastering tracks on your website. Such services must be in high demand – how do you balance doing both mastering and your own productions?
Oh, it’s so much work these days, looks that I am not a secret anymore. The problem here is that I treat all tracks like they were mine, I can’t see them as a usual business, so sometimes its eats all my time that I need on the other side. To be honest it’s a problem sometimes, I really want more time for my own music again….. Also I travel so much as well.
You have developed somewhat of a reputation as an audiophile, avid equipment collector, and general wizard of musical technology. What is your favorite piece of classic equipment and why?
My favorite piece is my Klein&Hummel UE100 tube EQ, its a full tube super EQ from the 50ies, its like a classic Rolls Royce. A masterpiece of art! It’s beside my Studer a80 tape machine as the reason why my tracks sounding so soft and warm but also powerful with impact.
Do you find that modern software and equipment can adequately reproduce the same range of effects and sounds as classic equipment?
It’s different but that’s very good, I use the best of both worlds, cause digital can do things that would never be possible in the analog world!
Who helped you the most when you were first learning about music?
Still to this day I learn mostly all by myself, I can listen very well to music and analyze it, also I read so much. Music is an artform that has to do with the way how you put feelings in a string of time, and then you need to arrange those feelings.
What was the first piece of music you ever bought?
I think if I remember right it was Falco Amadeus.
If you had to be locked in a studio with any other artist for 24 hours who would it be?
It will be one of my friends like Gui Boratto, Marc Romboy, Martin Eyerer or maybe I would love to work with Trevorn Horn, I adore his work a lot. His work with FGTH was one of my main influences when I was a kid. His Bombastic 12” mixes are even till today one of the best mixes in the world.
When is your next full album due to be released?
I am working on that, but the release is planned for early 2009, I hope before the summer. Will be again on Marc Romboy’s SYSTEMATIC.
Robert Babicz will be playing the following dates…
Fri 28th Nov – Drop at Empire, Brisbane
Sat 29th Nov – Earthcore Global Carnival, Victoria
Fri 5th Dec – Soma Corp & The Likes Of You at Brown Alley, Melbourne – w/ Luciano
Sat 6th Dec – Chinese Laundry, Sydney
Fri 12th Dec – Democracy at Bar Open, Perth – w/ Audiofly